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      Meet Aaron...the drug court tracker dog

      The month of May is Drug Court Month.

      Drug Court is a behavior modification program that is an alternative to prison for high risk offenders who have drug or alcohol addiction problems. In Adair County, the 19 month and 5 level program has been in place since March of 2003 to help make sure these individuals get on the right track.

      "We tell them coming into the program that we want them to be productive, responsible, law biding citizens who is sober and clean. Also, we want them to support their family and get a job. That's everyone's goal," said Judge Russell Steele of the Adair County Second Circuit Court.

      Curfews, drug testing, and court appearances are just a few of the things participants do in the program to help the judge make sure they are doing the right things. But the judge canâ??t do it alone, thatâ??s when Aaron, the drug court tracker dog, and his partner Jane, the drug court tracker, come in.

      "I think that's what makes us unique and adds another resource to make sure these people are accountable and aren't doing things in their home that they shouldn't be doing," Judge Steele said.

      "I go out in the evenings, anytime from 10 p.m.-7 a.m. A client is selected randomly. I come to the house, knock on the door, and I come in. Aaron and I search all the living areas such as bedroom, kitchen, and dining room. Aaron sniffs around. If he indicates, he will sit, and I will search and look. Aaron can indicate residue as well. His nose is really strong. So if it's gotten rid of, the smell is still there to him," said Jane Moore, Adair County Drug Court Tracker.

      If Aaron does find drugs the individual is not suppose to use or have, Jane then contacts the drug court team to address the issue to the individual in court. The problem doesnâ??t disqualify the individual; itâ??s just another step the Adair County Drug Court takes to help out the person even more.

      "A lot of our participants won't have perfect performances. We recognize these people have a serious addiction problem, and we are going to deal with it," Judge Steele said.

      In the past nine years, the program has been very successful and rewarding to everyone whoâ??s a part of it.

      "Weâ??ve helped a lot of people be successful because in a behavior modification program, you reward good behavior to try to encourage more good behavior," Judge Steele said.

      "Itâ??s been great. I've gotten to know the clients, and they are all people and human beings. I'm always positive with them so that they can get to know me and be comfortable so the program can be successful for them," Moore said.

      If you want more information on the Adair County Drug Court Program, call (660) 665-3145.